On October 6, the first Berry Business Forum was held in Serbia; the conference covered all topics of interest for growers: market trends, breeder’s rights, climate change and finance opportunities. The event proved perfectly suited as a knowledge sharing event and a networking opportunity for all participants.
Serbia is well-known for its raspberry production, but other berries are also gaining importance. Blueberry orchards recorded increases in the last five years since blueberries are easier in post-harvest manipulation and have longer shelf life. Although Serbian farmers are knowledgeable growers, berry farming itself is changing due to global climate change, and to the new market demands, changing consumers preferences, and more. Therefore, the transfer of knowledge and continuous education has been identified as necessary by the growers themselves.
Milos Milutinovic, Category Manager for F&V in Ahold Delhaize Serbia, explained that meeting demanding requirements and standards set by retail chains is beneficiary for growers. If the local market cannot consume produced quantities, the export of surplus produce would not be a problem since they are of high quality. He also praised the initiative of local growers to join forces and aggregate in a cooperative or collaborate with bigger producers that can deliver to retail chains.